Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has two options after Umno officially withdraws its support for him, a constitutional lawyer says.
Bastian Pius Vendargon said Muhyiddin could tender his resignation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and request the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat to pave the way for a snap general election.
“However, it is the discretion of the King on whether to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat and return the mandate to the people,” he said.
Alternatively, Muhyiddin could get the support of MPs who currently do not back him to stay in power.
“This is because of the slim majority that Muhyiddin’s government currently enjoys,” Vendargon said.
The prime minister is believed to have the support of some 114 MPs compared to the opposition’s 106.
Umno is the largest bloc in Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) government with 38 MPs although several individuals from the party, such as Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub and Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, had earlier withdrawn support for the government.
Vendargon said another route for Muhyiddin is to convene an emergency sitting of the Dewan Rakyat “to test from the floor” whether he enjoys the support of the majority in the House.
“He could do that if he is confident of having secured the support of 111 of the existing 220 MPs,” he said.
He said Muhyiddin would remain the prime minister if he won the confidence vote.
“As per Article 43(4), he could request for dissolution if he ceases to command the confidence of the majority,” he said.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had, after a four-hour Supreme Council meeting last night, announced that the party was officially withdrawing its support for Muhyiddin and asked him to step down as the government had failed to fulfil the two requirements the party had set to justify support for the administration.
Vendargon said that on the face of Zahid’ statement, it appeared that all Umno MPs did not support the government.
“We have to see if anyone (among the Umno MPs) breaks rank to continue supporting Muhyiddin,” he said.
He also expected disciplinary action to be taken should any of the Umno MPs refuse to follow the party’s decision.